CNN has an article saying the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has dropped their doomsday clock back 1 minute to 6 minutes to midnight. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/15/doomsday.clock/index.html?hpt=Sbin The closest it has been is 2 min, in the 1950s and the furtherst is 17 minutes in the early '90s. It has only been adjusted 18 times. Here's the wiki showing the adjustments: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock The purpose (originally) was to predict the likelihood of global nuclear war. According to the wiki, the purpose was expanded in 2007 to include "climate-changing technologies and "new developments in the life sciences and nanotechnology that could inflict irrevocable harm." That seems a little silly, especially considering the area of experties of the journal, but in any case, the new mission hasn't affected the setting much. From '88 to '91, it jumped from 3 minutes to 17 minutes. Since then, it went back down in: -1995: -3: Global military spending still high, poor ex-Soviet nuclear security -1998: -5: India and Pakistan explode nuclear weapons, Russian/US negotiations for further reductions stall -2002: -2: Concerns over nuclear terrorism, nuclear material securtiy, US intentions to leave ABM treaty. -2007: -2: N. Korea tests a weapon, the US talks tough on nuclear weapons for tactical use, continued security threats....and climate change. Originally, it was about global nuclear war, which implies to me a significant nuclear exchange between the US and USSR (which would also have to include western Europe). While there was no official change in definition (until 2007), since the end of the cold war, it appars to have been wound forward in response to much smaller threats than global nuclear war. Threats like terrorism, Pakistan vs India and difficulty in negotiating further reductions in weapons between the US and Russia. It seems to me that these threats pale in comparison to things like the Cuban missile crisis, but more to the point, none of the threats could possibly involve more than a small handful of bombs (many, like terrorism, just one). And a failure to further reduce the threat is seen as an increase in the threat? For a scientific journal, that's rediculously illogical. Anyway, I'm just wondering where the fear of nuclear war ranks on peoples' threat lists. To me, their current setting seems hugely pessimistic. For me, nuclear war sems about as likely as an asteroid crashing through my living room. It is certainly less likely today than from the period of 1960-1980 (including the Cuban missile crisis!), than which we are currently closer to midnight.